a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Roses and peonies


The roses are making their presence felt in the garden. This is the first rose Kourosh planted, Pierre de Ronsard.

It was a complete unknown to us as unfledged gardeners but it is a very popular rose. People here often think it is an old variety because it is named after the poet Pierred de Ronsard who lived four hundred years ago and wrote the famous poem “Mignonne, allons voir si la rose”. He looks at the fragility of the rose and encourages life to be taken while it can and be enjoyed – advice that holds good today.

In fact, this rose was created by the rose grower, Louisette Meilland in the 1980’s.

Phyllis Bede was created earlier by the rose grower Bede in 1923.

Despite the small size of the flowers, this rose charms her way into the hearts of her admirers.

The rose that is in its glory now is flowering well in a shady place under trees and also on a hedge in full sun. It is the oldest hybrid of all three previous roses, being created in 1909 by the German rose grower Schmidt. Veilchenblau means blue violet in German which is a clearly descriptive name.

The rose perfumes its surroundings.

It attracts the bees to gather its pollen so I can enjoy the perfume as I take my photographs.

This rose has no name but flowers continuously from now until the winter. It has a just perceptable fragrance but it the best rose to cut and has a beautiful shape of petals.

Kourosh has taken a cutting of this rose just in case of disasters.

If the rose flowers do not have a long life the peonies have an even shorter spell of glory. Mme Emile Debatene is an elegant, feminine peony.

My red peonies have no name and owe their existance to a moment of weakness in our local supermarket. I have no idea of the name but she is a blowsy, hot bloom that needs an exotic name.

I was glad to note that the peonies share their pollen with the bees too. This bumble bee had fallen asleep on the job and I took the photograph as she looked so cute.

Her nap was shortly disturbed by a curious hoverfly who could not be satisfied by one of the other peonies that were free.

Which all goes to show that even in the countryside, inside a peony flower – you are not free from unwanted disturbance.

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

22 thoughts on “Roses and peonies

  1. There is so much wonder and pleasure in all the parts of a garden – large or small. J.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! Can’t grow roses here without ten foot high fences, they are known among friends as “deer food.” However I have one that remains, from many planted years ago, that manages to bloom every year. And a “wild” native rose that flourishes until the deer smell it. Just a tad of rose envy today! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like Veilchenblau – unusual color, and sounds like the fragrance is a huge plus. I love the peach-leaf bellflowers growing against your wall, they are very short-lived here. Nice capture of the bee in the last photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The German one is a lovely colour, but I do like the look of Phyllis Bede. That’s a beautiful red peony. Wouldn’t it be lovely if peonies flowered all summer?! 😃 Love the last photo. 🐝

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish the peonies lasted a bit longer, they are here such a short time. Their foliage, however, is quite handsome. Your Ronsard looks far better than mine! Perhaps Provence is too hot for it. The blooms are always hanging down so one doesn’t get the full effect, which is a shame because they are quite beautiful. I’m also having some black spot ……
    bonnie near carpentras

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am starting a few rose gardens. Your roses are stunning . I love their variegated shades and imperfect shapes. Peonies I have two. Somehow a second sneaked outside my garden fence and prefers to be roadside. Pink and blousy too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roses are lovely when they are perfect but they take more care than I am willing to give them. It is Kourosh that prunes them and looks after them. Good luck with your roses, I know they are the favourite flowers of so many people and give back a lot of pleasure for their owners. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am lucky to have 5 established ones in the front of the Farmhouse. Looked very sad last year when we bought the place. Gave them a hard prunr and now look fab. They seem to thrive under the huge fir tree…the soil is very acid which you would think wasn’t ideal but…..

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think plants are like bees, they do their own thing – not what you think they might do.


          • We leave our main poultry garden to natures. I mow parts and sort of keep nature tidy but encouraging the wildness and the birds love it. I have a more tidy orchard area, but the other field, apart from a mowed walkway, is turned over to insects…bees, butterflies, moths and crickets. Its full of flowers, grasses. I think there must be a thousand species of plant in that hectare. I always wanted a wild space. But the rose garden is on the cards too. Today I did the old fashion washing up water re the blackfly. Works a treat.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I am like the Bumblebee and need my Power Nap these days😴

    Liked by 2 people

  8. That’s a wonderful picture of the sleeping bumble and the approaching marmalade hoverfly!

    Liked by 1 person

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